Boise State officials met Wednesday with Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell and Joseph Crowley, president of the University of Nevada and current president of the NCAA, to talk about moving up a step to Division I-A athletics.
They didn't describe it as a recruiting trip, but it sounded like one. Farrell said the Big West definitely wants Boise State and possibly Idaho to join its conference for football and perhaps other sports.They wouldn't say who's doing the recruiting.
"We may be wooing each other," Crowley said.
Farrell said he's tentatively scheduled to make a similar visit to the University of Idaho in August.
Boise State is a member of the Division I-AA Big Sky Conference, as is Idaho and Idaho State.
Boise President Charles Ruch and the Big West officials said it was simply an exchange of information, with no action imminent.
But Ruch said he has ordered an update of a study on the future of BSU athletics. He said Larry Selland, a retired Boise State official, is heading the update effort.
When it's finished by the end of the summer, Ruch says he will present it to the state Board of Education at its late September meeting.
A similar report 13 months ago recommended Boise State move to I-A from Division I-AA and seek membership in the Big West league.
"We will put forth recommendations that we believe are in the best interests of our institution," Ruch said. He said it will be up to the board to decide whether Boise State will change conferences "and we will live with the consequences."
Farrell said the Big West will have eight teams left for football after San Jose State and Nevada-Las Vegas leave for the Western Athletic Conference at the end of the 1995-96 academic year.
He said the league wants to expand to 12 teams to allow divisional play, and has been looking at Boise State, Idaho, North Texas State and Northeastern Louisiana.
Although Boise State meets requirements for moving to I-A, Idaho does not. Crowley said there are a number of ways the Vandals could achieve I-A status, and the Moscow school could even play football in the Big West as a Division I-AA member.
Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier said the Big West would be a good fit for his school, with member institutions at similar athletic funding levels. He mentioned Big West member Utah State at Logan as a natural football rival.